Legal Identity of the Bond Issuer and its Legal Form
For corporate bonds, the issuer is usually the corporate legal entity—for example, Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., or Volkswagen AG. However, bonds are sometimes issued by a subsidiary of a parent legal entity. In this case, investors should look at the credit quality of the subsidiary, unless the indenture specifies that the bond liabilities are guaranteed by the parent. When they are rated, subsidiaries often carry a credit rating that is lower than their parent, but this is not always the case. For example, in May 2012, Santander UK plc was rated higher by Moody’s than its Spanish parent, Banco Santander.
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